So God Made a Mother Collection ➔

A friend of mine in the trenches, with a newborn and a two-year-old, recently shared this about motherhood, “I read somewhere…that it is not that it will get easier, but that you will get stronger.” 

How right she is. My babies are seven and nine, and I’m still exhausted at the end of every day. I know more than I ever thought possible about certain things, yet I face new challenges daily on this journey.

I picture athletes as they go from a beginner to part of a team. They exercise, they practice, calories burn, fat drips off or turns to muscle. They sculpt their bodies inside and out. There are changes to accommodate the running, the swimming, the skating, the weight lifting, the conditioning of all kinds.

They practice and practice until they are like Ralph Maccio in The Karate Kid, all the while their physical body is getting stronger, so too is a mentor training their minds, their emotions, their confidence.

They have specific diets and required hours of sleep, massage and physical therapists and someone to clean their stinky uniforms and gear when they’re done. (Often this person cleaning the uniforms is called “Mom.”)

They never make it to professional status, or world championship teams or Olympics until they have dedicated years to the practice.

Being a mother is like this, except for one important distinction– we must learn and strengthen our bodies and minds at the same time as we mother. It’s like being tossed into the pool without knowing how to swim, or rolled out onto the soccer field with no actual running experience, let alone running down a field while simultaneously foot-juggling a ball and facing down a team of opponents. Imagine a quarterback expected to play without knowing how to pass a ball.

Before I became a mother, I worked with kids for nearly half of my life, and no amount of kid experience helped me as a mother. Except for maybe knowing how to change a diaper and cradle an infant’s head, and trust me, moms can do those two things with their eyes closed while hanging upside down from the monkey bars, three other children clinging to them, and make dinner at the same time. No joke.

The truth is, being a mom is the hardest job I’ve ever had. And it’s hard daily. We are learning each new skill, honing new muscles, training our brains to act, our emotions to expand, daily. While taking care of our children.

There is no three-hour a day practice for months with a coach to learn how to breastfeed every two hours with mastitis or thrush or just plain old exhaustion. Or a training session for when your milk runs out, or when you decide, for the benefit of all involved, including your own mental health, that it’s time to switch to formula.

There’s no class to take to understand your emotions leaking out of your body and spilling into a puddle on the floor around you. For when Post-Partum Depression has you in its grip and you still have to hold your child and sing her to sleep because that’s the only thing that works at 3am.

There’s certainly no Jedi training for how to watch your child sit alone on the playground, his inability to interact with other children glaringly obvious. Or how to keep your emotions in check while your child has a seizure.

There’s no Yoda serene enough to guide you through the journey of losing a child because her precious soul went to Heaven too, too early.

There’s no textbook on how to deal with the “paparazzi” of every person critiquing your parenting.

There’s no separation between practice and game day, or fancy team dinner before the championships, with instructions from the coach to get a good night’s sleep and rest up before the game. Because every day is game day. (And what’s a good night’s sleep anyway?)

Moms train their bodies to adapt in so many ways: pregnancy, infertility, miscarriage, birth, adoption. Then comes feeding a baby through that villain known as sleep debt. Next, it’s 10,000 questions for why the sky is blue, or how to act when your child doesn’t speak at all. Our bodies strengthen, our emotions grow, our minds get challenged every day.

Even on days when we fail, or crumple, or need someone else to take over for a while so we can heal and rest. Even then.

While being a mom is hard, it’s also so outrageously awesome. Even through the exhaustion, even through the 10,000 questions, even when my kids are driving me crazy, even on days when I hate being a mom because the guilt of my mistakes eats at me.

Even then I look at my son and think, “GOD YOU ARE SO BEAUTIFUL!! You gorgeous, creative soul.” And I listen to my daughter talk about hydroponics in space and think, “How in the world did you get to be so amazingly smart and sensitive to the ways of the world? YOU ARE FREAKING INCREDIBLE!!”

Because, even our hearts expand and adapt daily, that necessary muscle of life and love. Beat by beat. Even when we sneak five minutes to ourselves and cry alone in the shower, our hearts are expanding at the exhaustion and beauty and madness of it all. Our hearts adapt to hold so much love.

The truth is, it never gets easier. It gets different. I know this isn’t news to mamas out there. We get it. We show up for game day every day, through the fatigue, the uncertainty, the guilt, the chores, the wonder, the love, the hope, the despair, through the times we ask for help, through the tears and the laughter and every mundane minute in-between. And over every hurdle, through every sleepless night, through the worry and crazy beauty of it all, we get stronger.

It doesn’t get easier. The playbook changes, we master one thing while moving onto another challenge to solve, new emotions to understand. But through it all we gain strength to weather any storm. And I hope every mama out there knows that. I hope every mama out there can see she’s not alone. I hope every mama knows how strong she is.

Here are a few lovely suggestions, gathered from some awesome moms I know, for how to help a new mom you may know, whether it’s her first baby or her fifth!

  1. Ask her if she wants visitors. Offer to hold her newborn so she can nap. Let her know you’re there for her.
  2. Send her a care package with goodies for everyone, some treats for the older kids, gift cards, nursing pads, snacks, coffee, PAPER PLATES, an awesome water bottle for her (nursing makes you parched!).
  3. Give her a gift card for local restaurants or a meal delivery service. Food is so important for her and her family, and knowing she doesn’t have to cook is priceless!
  4. Something special just for her, maybe a new, soft throw blanket, a precious bead for strength, a pretty new coffee mug.
  5. As a mom, it can be difficult to believe in our strength. Check in with her. Tell her how amazing she is!

Sara Ohlin

Puget Sound based writer, Sara Ohlin is a mom, wannabe photographer, obsessive reader, ridiculous foodie, and the author of the upcoming contemporary romance novels, Handling the Rancher and Salvaging Love. You can find her essays at Anderbo.com, Feminine Collective, Mothers Always Write, Her View from Home, and in anthologies such as Are We Feeling Better Yet? Women Speak about Healthcare in America, and Take Care: Tales, Tips, & Love from Women Caregivers. Find her at www.saraohlin.com

To The Mother Who Is Overwhelmed

In: Inspiration, Motherhood
Tired woman with coffee sitting at table

I have this one head. It is a normal sized head. It didn’t get bigger because I had children. Just like I didn’t grow an extra arm with the birth of each child. I mean, while that would be nice, it’s just not the case. We keep our one self. And the children we add on each add on to our weight in this life. And the head didn’t grow more heads because we become a wife to someone. Or a boss to someone. We carry the weight of motherhood. The decisions we must make each day—fight the shorts battle...

Keep Reading

To the Mother of My Son’s Future Wife

In: Grown Children, Inspiration, Kids, Marriage, Motherhood, Relationships
marriage, wife, husband, grown children, www.herviewfromhome.com

To the mother of my son’s future wife, I’m in the midst of dirty diapers and temper tantrums, but I do have days where I think about the future and what it will look like for my son. I wonder who he will be, what he will do and probably most of all, who he will love. I wonder about the type of woman he will bring home to meet us one day. I have my own thoughts on the type of person I wish my son would fall in love with, but we all know that the heart wants...

Keep Reading

Trading Fleeting Moments of Fame for Unshakeable Faith

In: Faith, Inspiration, Relationships
Trading Fleeting Moments of Fame for Unshakeable Faith www.herviewfromhome.com

The string quartet began playing Pachelbel, as my dad and I took our first steps down the aisle. I began to lose my composure as we proceeded to the altar. Hundreds of guests had their eyes on me as tears streamed down my face. Struggling to look my future in the eyes, I looked to the ground for reprieve. God, everything around me looks perfect, so why doesn’t this feel right? I’m not sure how I got here. The flame once dancing inside of me, has extinguished. Lord, I need you. Dad squeezed my hand gently, “Are you OK sweetie?”...

Keep Reading

Children Don’t Get Easier, We Just Get Stronger

In: Inspiration, Mental Health, Motherhood
Children Don't Get Easier, We Just Get Stronger www.herviewfromhome.com

“This too shall pass.” As mothers, we cling to these words as we desperately hope to make it past whichever parenting stage currently holds us in its clutches. In the thick of newborn motherhood, through night wakings, constant nursing and finding our place in an unfamiliar world, we long for a future filled with more sleep and less crying. We can’t imagine any child or time being more difficult than right now. Then, a toddler bursts forth, a tornado of energy destroying everything in his wake. We hold our breath as he tests every possible limit and every inch of...

Keep Reading

This North Dakota Homecoming Queen is Capturing Hearts Everywhere

In: Inspiration, Kids, School, Teen
This North Dakota Homecoming Queen is Capturing Hearts Everywhere www.herviewfromhome.com

When Paula and Kevin Burckard’s third child was born, she arrived with a little something extra the North Dakota couple never saw coming.  Newborn Grace had Down syndrome, and the diagnosis initially left the young parents devastated. “When Grace was born, I thought all my dreams for my daughter had basically been dashed,” Paula said.  But it didn’t take long for those fears to subside.  As Grace grew, not only did she meet and surpass milestones, her infectious joy, inspirational grit, and deep love of all things Michael Jackson transformed the family—and countless hearts. The Burckhards went on to adopt...

Keep Reading

Dear Kids, When I Forget What It’s Like To Be Little

In: Child, Inspiration, Kids, Motherhood
Hey Mom, Don't Forget—You Were a Kid Once, Too www.herviewfromhome.com

The kids were squealing in the backseat. For the five minutes prior they were begging me to spill the beans on where we were going as I had only told them to get their shoes, get in the car and buckle up. It’s one of the ways I’ve learned to make a simple trip out of the house one that is a mysterious adventure to them. As we took left and right turns away from our house, they were trying to guess where we were going . . . and when we finally pulled up to a brand new playground...

Keep Reading

My Children Deserve To See the Whole Me, Not Just the Mom Me

In: Inspiration, Journal, Motherhood
My Children Deserve To See the Whole Me, Not Just the Mom Me www.herviewfromhome.com

Before I was a mother, I was a human being. A human being with life experiences, passions, fears, talents, hobbies, goals, friends and aspirations that I cherished and tried to honor. Even though I went through a variety of seasons of life . . . from school-age days, to working adult, to wife . . . those things always stayed with me. I stayed open to evolving, but never let go of who I inherently was. Then came motherhood. And suddenly I found myself abandoning my commitment to remain true to me, and leaving any semblance of myself in the...

Keep Reading

My Mother-in-Law’s Legacy: Simplicity

In: Inspiration, Journal
My Mother-in-Law's Legacy: Simplicity www.herviewfromhome.com

The memories of my mother-in-law spilled to the forefront of my mind, just as the contents of his jacket pocket fell onto our dresser. It was Proverbs 31, written on hotel stationery, in my neatest block print. Holding the small papers in my hand brought me right back to her graveside, on a hot summer morning, seven years ago. “Her children arise and call her blessed.” (verse 28) As my second daughter gave a mighty kick from the womb, visible to every mourner present that day, I couldn’t help but to allow my mind to wander. Were my values apparent...

Keep Reading

A Car Accident Left My Teenager Paralyzed—and Incredibly Fierce

In: Inspiration, Journal
A Car Accident Left My Teenager Paralyzed—and Incredibly Fierce www.herviewfromhome.com

I drove back from my son’s college concert near midnight. Exhausted, I glanced at my 14-year-old daughter, Beth, asleep in the passenger seat. We were only 10 minutes from home. I thought I could make it until I heard a road sign flatten on concrete. As the car flipped three times across a bare Ohio field, we left behind an ordinary life. I escaped with cuts, bruises, and blood-matted hair. Beth was another story. The car was cut open and a helicopter rushed her to Toledo. A doctor told my husband John that she was paralyzed. When John broke the news...

Keep Reading

Dear Mama, You’re Allowed To Not Be There

In: Inspiration, Motherhood
Dear Mama, You're Allowed To Not Be There www.herviewfromhome.com

Friday afternoon was not much crazier than most afternoons. My husband was mowing the lawn, my daughter was hangry and my youngest son was due to be in a talent show in twenty minutes. I stood in the kitchen—where it seemed like I’d been for an hour—trying to motivate my family to eat dinner and get ready to go. “Get dressed, Jude. Make sure you eat something.” “Dean, do you want a slice of pizza before we leave?” I screamed over the lawn mower. “Maeve, are you going to the optional soccer practice or the talent show? You need to...

Keep Reading

5 Secrets to the

BEST Summer Ever!

FREE EMAIL BONUS

Creating simple summer memories

with your kids that will  last a lifetime